New and updated products keep on coming from the family-owned company and David Williams visited a press event in Germany to find out about the latest innovations
It has been a very good year for Claas. New and updated products keep on coming from the family-owned company and David Williams visited a press event in Germany to find out about the latest innovations.
Claas launched new products in its mid-size tractor, large tractor, forage harvester and Easy precision farming ranges at a press event in western Germany.Tractors
The Arion 500 and 600 models received significant updates during 2012 and, with outputs from 140-184hp, their size means they have a place on most farms. As a result, the Arion range is the company’s best-selling. CIS and CEBIS versions have been available since last year, with the versatile Claas Hexashift gearbox, but a brand new CVT transmission has been developed by the company, with revolutionary features to boost efficiency and ease of use.For those needing more power, the multi-purpose Xerion models have been updated and a new model introduced in response to demand for greater productivity and increased load-carrying capabilities.Arion CVT developed
The launch and first demonstration of a new CVT transmission, referred to throughout the event as the EQ200 but which, when in full production, will be known as the CMatic, took place in Paderborn in western Germany. Claas manufactures drive and steering axle systems including its TerraTrac assemblies and electro-hydraulic valves and controls in the town and five years ago started the project to design and produce the new infinitely-variable transmission.
The best-selling Arion tractors are now available with Claas-designed and manufactured CVT transmissions.”The size and power of the Arion range means it is used for all sorts of applications, so it has to be very versatile,” explained Claas Industrietechnik president Dr Thomas Lorf. “Having looked at what CVT transmissions were currently available we decided there was nothing that offered the performance we required. The transmission had to perform exceptionally well in all applications, and our experience and knowledge of the tractor drives sector were the driving forces in our decision to develop and manufacture our own CVT transmission.”More than 40 million euros have been invested by Claas in developing the transmission, including more than 15,000 hours of road and field work, and 17,000 hours of testing and analysis on state-of-the-art test rigs with up to 1,000hp available to thoroughly assess performance.The result is a CVT transmission providing stepless operation from 0-50kph, and with high efficiency of between 80-90 per cent throughout the speed range, and regardless of the application. Maximum speeds; either 40 or 50kph are achieved at less than 1,500 engine rpm.
With a cut-away of the new transmission are (l-r) Claas Paderborn TVC gearbox project leader Jan-Willem Verhorst, Dr Peter Lorf and Alastair McCallum.The new transmission has two main parts; a mechanical power input with a stepped planetary gearbox and clutch, and hydrostatic output, but the clever feature is the way the two work together to provide the constant high efficiency. Stepped planetary gears are interconnected and split and merge the power. As the speed varies, the power flow through the transmission changes too, using two different routes through the planetary gears to provide two mechanical ratios. Two hydrostatic drive pumps double as motors, their functions alternating. At lower speeds one pumps until it reaches its full capacity and then the drive route changes and that pump becomes a driven motor, the hydrostatic units swapping their respective roles. As, at the moment of switchover, the swash plates of both hydrostatic units are already at the appropriate angles to take over the pumping and drive roles there is no switching time required.The magic switching takes place between 20-25kph, when a multi-plate clutch redirects the drive between the two routes, as the hydrostatic units are at maximum capacity and two transmission shafts are travelling at identical speeds, which means there is no break in the drive while the ratio is changed. Claas was quite happy to bet with any of the test drivers at the demonstration that they would not be able to detect when the shift occurred.The factory is capable of producing up to 4,000 of the new transmissions annually, and new manufacturing practises, similar to those used by leading car brands, have had to be adopted by the company, tolerances required being down to one one-hundredth of a degree. The performance of every transmission is checked for 20 minutes on a test-bed in the production area before being declared fit for use.Test drive
A test drive on the UK’s best-selling 184hp Arion 650 fitted with the new transmission provided an opportunity to try out its performance, and test the claims made for its ease of use.Operation is similar to that of the larger Axion 900 tractors. The Cebis display screen is used to set the operating mode, direction of travel is selected using the Revershift lever beside the steering column, or the CMotion control joystick, which is also used to control the speed.In Automotive mode speed and acceleration are controlled using the foot throttle, and the engine and transmission work together to provide the most economical operation. The CMotion lever can be pulled back when travelling down hills to provide efficient engine braking. In CMotion mode, the joystick is used to control speed and the engine and transmission work together to provide most efficient operation. This mode is best for applications where precise speed control is needed. There is also a manual mode through which engine speed is controlled using either the foot accelerator or the CMotion lever, while transmission ratio can be altered using the lever, independent of engine speed. Using the Cebis screen three cruise control speed ranges can be set up and selected, in both forward and reverse, and engine ‘droop’, the drop in engine revs permitted as working conditions vary can be set between 5 and 40 per cent in 1 per cent increments.Driving around a test circuit using the foot accelerator to control the speed up to the 50kph maximum, acceleration was very smooth and Claas was correct in its claim that the change in gear ratio within the transmission was not detectable. Varying the speed between approximately 20-25kph when the clutches should have been busy altering the transmission drive path, it was still impossible to tell when the change occurred.A feature of the new transmission is its hill-hold and, having stopped the tractor on a steep slope, then removed the foot from the accelerator pedal, the tractor sat stationary until the accelerator was used to pull smoothly away, or reverse was selected and the accelerator depressed to reverse down again. Releasing the accelerator pedal during the descent caused the tractor to come to a gentle stop again. The test involved just the unladen tractor, but the Claas demonstration driver on-hand to explain the features said that regardless of the load, the function remains just as effective.
For more accurate speed control the hand-lever proved easy to use and, with its progressive action, the further the lever was moved forward and back, the more aggressive was the acceleration and deceleration. The CVT transmission is very user-friendly, and reversing up to a bar with a hole through, simulating hitching up to a trailer showed the precise control available at very low speeds that was possible with the system.Availability and demand
Claas tractor product manager Alastair McCallum said he expects up to 20 per cent of new Arion tractors, particularly the 640 and 650 models, to be ordered with CMatic when it enters full production. “The current Hexashift transmission is superb anyway,” he explained. “It is an excellent powershift transmission, very efficient and is easy to use and popular with users, so it isn’t as if the current offering has any disadvantages. For that reason we expect demand for the CVT will be from those who need totally stepless transmission for specialist operations or from those who already own competitor CVT machines. A particular benefit of CMatic is that even though it is a CVT, it will offer efficiency levels comparable to our already excellent Hexashift mechanical transmission.”Dr Lorf said that during development of CMatic, CVT transmissions from other manufacturers were compared on the test beds. While he would not provide specific information he was prepared to comment that; “It’s fair to say that our tests have shown significant efficiency benefits over alternative units tested for all applications.”Xerion updates
The Claas Xerion range has been updated, the most significant change being the replacement of the smaller-framed Xerion 3800 by a new 400hp Xerion 4000 which is built on the same chassis as the larger 4500 and 5000 machines. Claas explained its decision to drop the smaller model from the range saying that when it was introduced it was one of the most powerful tractors available, but now conventional smaller tractors can offer similar power, while demand for even more power and productivity is growing.
The new Xerion 4000 is expected to be popular for slurry and digestate application. Near-perfect weight distribution is possible.The Xerion 4000 is powered by a Mercedes Benz 10.6-litre 6-cylinder engine which produces up to 435hp and 2,100Nm of torque, up by more than 50hp and 500Nm of torque compared with the 8.7-litre engine in the 3800.Tyre technology has moved on too, and the new tractor is mounted on 2.15m rubbers, compared to the previous model’s 2.05m.The Mercedes Benz engine develops its power at very low revs; 1,900rpm (rated), 1,700rpm for maximum power and 1,300 for maximum torque, Claas suggesting that an optimum engine speed of 1,500rpm will provide efficient and economical operation.The Mercedes Benz engine meets Tier 4 final emissions requirements using SCR (Adblue) and without needing a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) or Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).
The new Xerion 4000 has replaced the 3800, and uses the same chassis as the 4500 and 5000 models.New, more efficient cooling systems are used, the cooling radiators now side by side at the front allowing lower fan speeds and consuming less power. The 4500 and 5000 models both have a higher bonnet line than the 4000 as they have higher capacity cooling systems.The Xerion 4000 weighs 17t unladen, and the new model shares the heavy duty axles of the two more powerful models.Three body layouts are offered; the standard Trac version with the cab fixed in the centre; the Trac VC with a rotating cab providing convenient forward/reverse operation and the Saddle Trac which has the cab at the front, for use with large mounted accessories such as tankers or spreaders, and which is an option only on the 4000 model, the larger engines and cooling systems of the 4500 and 5000 compromising the space available for a flat load platform.There are two transmission options available across the range now; both offer infinitely variable travel speeds but the ZF Eccom 4.5 which is available on the Trac and Trac VC models has a centre differential and will travel at up to 50kph in forward and reverse. It has a PTO coupling provided as standard and a high output hydraulic system is optional.
The Trac VC versions have cabs which lift hydraulically and pivot for equal ease of use in either direction.The ZF Eccom 5.0 transmission, standard equipment on the Trac machines is available as a lower-cost option on the other models, with 50kph maximum forward speed and 30kph reverse. It is available with or without PTO, is an ideal option for those just carrying out cultivations and reduces the unladen weight by approximately 700kg.Chassis and cab
The chassis has been strengthened for greater load carrying capacity and semi-active cab suspension is an option on Trac and Trac VC variants. From the cab the operator can select three levels of damping; firm, soft or locked. Thanks to a new position for the exhaust; under the right side of the cab, vision is not obstructed.For those mounting liquid tanks on the rear of the Saddle Trac models, maximum capacity is up from approximately 14m3 on the Xerion 3800 to 18m3 on the new machines. Each axle can take up to 15t and, with 710mm tyres fitted, provides an overall tractor width of just 3m.
All main operating functions are controlled using the CMotion joystick and set up using the Cebis screen, including the three operating modes; automotive, cruise control and E-Gas, the latter enabling a constant PTO speed to be maintained while ensuring optimum engine efficiency.
The 4500 and 5000 models have also been updated. The new top-of-the-range 5000 is pictured demonstrating its versatility on a maize silage clamp.Hydraulic performance includes a 10.0t rear lift capacity, 8.1t front lift capacity and a standard hydraulic oil flow of 195 litres/min, providing up to 105 litres/min at each spool valve. Up to seven rear and three front spools can be supplied. An option is the Power Hydraulic system providing a maximum flow of 250 litres/min at 1,650rpm.The Xerion is Isobus and PGS ready, and Claas Telematics, Toni (Telematics on implement) and ICT (Implement controls tractor) systems can be fitted.Forager updates
There are significant updates to the Jaguar 800 series including a new cab, better access for servicing and features to improve productivity including new engines.
A new range of Jaguar 800 series forage harvesters, all with revised styling, new cabs and new engines was shown.For users of existing Jaguar 800 machines, the most obvious change is the styling, similar to that of the larger 900 series. The Vista cab, taken from the 900 models, has better visibility, more space for the operator and reduced noise levels.An updated Cebis system sets up and controls the harvester rather than the previous CIS. Now pre-selected functions can be accessed directly by a new ‘Hotkey’ as well as the main rotary switch. A night mode makes the screen easier to use in reduced light. Some of the automatic features can now be switched off and controlled manually, with re-engagement of the automatic mode available at the touch of a button. Pictured Left: The Jaguar 800 cabs are now similar to those of the 900 models.The Cebis can also be set to remind the operator when servicing is needed. A feature particularly useful when several drivers are operating the machine is a reminder to sharpen the knives or adjust the shearbar after a set operating time or, if the Quantimeter throughput monitor is fitted, after a set yield quantity has been processed.Popular on the 900 series was a quick coupler providing quick and convenient front attachment removal and reattachment, and this is now on the 800 series too. A new option for 800 series machines is the multi-crop cracker, standard on 970 and 980 models but now available for the 870. The cracker itself is easily moved in or out of work, the process taking approximately 5-10 minutes, and it can be left on-board the harvester on its mounting rails. For longer idle periods it can be completely removed, the new right hand panel opening fully and providing easy access.
Easier access for servicing is provided by new steel side doors. Hydraulic performance is improved with steel pipework replacing rubber. A larger additive tank is fitted.A 350-litre additive tank is fitted, with a high-flow pump offering application rates up to 400 litres per hour allowing the operator to apply at rates of up to two litres per tonne of crop. Previously, where high application rates were needed, it was necessary to apply one litre per tonne at double concentration.
The hydraulic system is improved with larger diameter pipes, made of steel rather than rubber, allowing a more efficient oil flow. Proportional valves allow smoother header travel over bumpy ground. New steel side access doors open wider than before, but can also be fixed partially open.
A new chopping cylinder brake is standard on the 800 series, and able to stop the unit in under five seconds.Long operating periods between refuelling are provided by a 1,000-litre fuel tank, and there is the option of an extra rear tank holding 300 litres without compromising on additive storage. The new harvesters need Adblue to meet the latest emissions standards and a 130-litre tank is fitted, said to be enough for two full fuel tank refills, and more than enough for three days’ work.Pictured Left: New EASY products include the S10, a 10-inch colour touch screen with features that make it easy to use and set-up and with new functions to improve productivity.The four new 800 series models; from 400-598hp, have Mercedes Benz 6- and 8-cylinder engines. All meet Tier 4i emissions regulations using just SCR.Optional Dynamic Power, first seen on the 900 series, is available on the new Jaguar 860 and 870 machines. This automatically adjusts engine output over an 11-step range as crop flow through the forager varies, giving the 860 a range from 272-510hp and the 870 a range from 272-598hp. Claas says that matching the engine output to crop flow can provide fuel savings of up to 10.6 per cent.The new Jaguars have been undergoing thorough testing with existing 800 series users and Claas said that feedback from operators has been that fuel savings of 8-10 litres per hour have been achieved for the new Tier 4i models compared with Tier 3 versions operating in the same fields.
Transmission options include Speedstar which offers 40kph maximum or Profistar with a top 25kph travel speed.Driver aids
Automatic steering is an option using Claas GPS Pilot, and further help for the operator is available in the form of Opti Fill, which enables the spout to swivel up to 225 degrees with automatic return to park position, and Auto Fill which uses a 3d camera to determine the trailer body dimensions and depth and to automatically control the spout position for optimum filling.The Cebis system stores up to 20 job records and can provide a print-out in the cab. In addition, the new 800 series can be equipped with Claas Telematics allowing operation, including settings and performance, to be accessed, monitored and reviewed on-line.Claas Easy
New products and features in the Claas Easy range include two new terminals for steering and telematics.
A new 7-inch high resolution touch-screen, the S7 replaces earlier S3 and CoPilot TS versions, offering similar features and functions and is now the Claas entry-level terminal for manual and automat